Monday, October 08, 2007

Backlash Takes A Bite Out of Apple's Mass Appeal ... But Not For Gordon Gecko

There was a time when Apple was the niche computer company that could do no wrong ... sure, it had no market share, but it was the little company "that could" and the little company we all rooted for.

That was a long, long time ago ...

Apple Computer, of course, recently dropped the "Computer" from its moniker is now simply Apple Inc. -- and, Apple Inc. is seemingly everywhere -- not only in the personal computer space of course, but also the dominant player in portable digital music players with its iPod, and now in the telecom space with the much-hyped iPhone.

It is not surprising, then, that the inevitable backlash has begun. And, that backlash is no longer just contained to bloggers and fringe journalists -- it has now entered the mainstream. Just today, for example, the Los Angeles Times has a feature front story in its Business section titled, "Is Apple losing some of its shine?" And, this feature story identifies six major examples of how Apple is now behaving less like the Apple Computer of old and more like ... um ... its long-time rival and perennial whipping boy Microsoft. These six examples are:

(1) delays in Apple's new operating system;
(2) iPhone price slashed $200 (angering early purchasers who felt "duped");
(3) problems with a recent buggy iTunes update;
(4) forced iPod game repurchases (so that these games would work on new iPods);
(5) ring tone restrictions; and
(6) the highly public inoperable iPhones problem.

Citing these and other tactics, some long-time loyalists even use the "G" word when talking about Apple -- "greed" -- in place of their prior almost religious reverence for Steve Jobs and the Cupertino gang.

While long-time loyalists yearn for simpler times, however, investors are not too troubled by this turn of events, as Apple's stock continues to rocket and is now at record highs. Remember, "Greed is good", according to the ultimate "G" word himself -- Gordon Gecko.